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LANDLORD/TENANT ISSUES - I REALLY NEED TO GET THEM OUT OF MY HOUSE!
Picking up from my last article, now that you have correctly and properly served the appropriate Notices, you have initiated the steps to legally terminate the tenant’s occupancy for failure to pay rent. If as a result of the notices you served the tenant has failed to move out, he is now in “unlawful detainer” of the premises. Nevada law states that a tenant is guilty of unlawful detainer when he continues in possession of the premises after default in payment of rent and after the landlord has delivered the Notices described in the first portion of this article. An eviction action may only be initiated once the tenant is in unlawful detainer.
An eviction action is initiated by service of a Five-Day Notice of Unlawful Detainer upon the tenant. Service is made the same way as with the previous Notices, by service on the tenant, upon a resident of suitable age and discretion, or by posting at the premises – all followed by mailing of a copy to the tenant. Once the time specified in the Notice expires, you may then pay the appropriate fee and file a Complaint for Summary Eviction and the court will set a date for hearing.
The tenant may comply with the 5-Day Notice and vacate the property and the process is complete. However, a tenant may file an Affidavit with the court challenging the 5-Day Notice. If the tenant files an Affidavit, the court will set a hearing within 7-14 days. At the hearing, the court will review the Notices and proofs of service you have on file and consider the grounds for the tenant’s challenge. After weighing this evidence, the court may sign an order of eviction or grant the tenant additional time before vacating the premises.
If the tenant does not file an Answer or Affidavit, or if the court rules in your favor, you may be awarded a monetary judgment such as for damages to the premises or rent owed, plus attorneys’ fees (if you are using an attorney) and costs. The court will also issue a Writ of Possession. This Writ is the document the local Constable relies upon to remove a tenant and to restore possession to the landlord. In conjunction with the writ of possession, the court will issue a 24-Hour Lock-Out Notice, ordering the tenant to leave. The landlord provides this Writ and Notice to the Constable for service.
Once the Notice of Lock-Out is served, a tenant has the right to file a motion to stay this 24-hour period. In this motion, the tenant explains to the court why he should retain possession even though he has not paid rent. If the tenant’s motion is granted, the court will schedule another hearing within 7-14 days to hear the tenant’s evidence. During the time prior to this hearing, the tenant is allowed to continue in possession of the premises.
If a tenant does not file an appeal of the 24-hour notice or if his motion is denied, once the 24 hour period is passed, the Constable travels to the property and removes the tenants that have not vacated. At this time, you secure the property by having the locks changed on all access doors.
Once the landlord has taken back the premises, it is responsible for storing any of the tenant’s possessions left on the premises for 30 days. The tenant must make the arrangement to retrieve the items and pay a reasonable storage fee. If the tenant has not picked up his possessions in that 30 day period, the landlord sends a certified letter stating that the items will be disposed of in 14 days. If the tenant does not retrieve his possessions within that 14 day period, the landlord has the right to dispose of the items.
From the two articles on this topic, it should be plain that this process is subject to numerous pitfalls for the unwary and inexperienced. A misstep in the process may force the landlord to start the whole notice process over again. This can prove very frustrating to the landlord and is an excellent reason why you should consult with an attorney knowledgeable in this area of practice prior to undertaking any eviction.
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